Singaporeans are still reeling from 2021, and our dearest Prime Minister decided to wish us a happy new year by announcing that the impending GST hike is set to happen this year. What a nice start to 2022 so far.
Here are some things we can buy or do before the additional 2% GST is imposed.
Some things to buy
I actually had quite a difficult time thinking of good items to list here. Buying big ticket items before the GST hike is obvious enough, but what items specifically? I asked a few friends what they thought, and here are some suggestions we came up with:
It might be high time to replace those old creaky tables and bedframes, or buy any new furniture you have been eyeing to better your work-from-home experience. We probably don’t buy or replace furniture all that often, so now might be a good time to get new ones before the GST increases.
Along the same coin, household appliances due for a refresh are a strong contender to be bought in light of the impending GST hike. Refrigerators and televisions, for instance, can last many years, but if yours are on their last legs, it might be worthwhile to replace them while it’s presently cheaper.
Getting hitched soon? You might want to get your wedding stuff in order now, since many vendors charge GST from things like the wedding banquet, to your photography package. Might be a good way to push your partner into… buying the cow. But you probably shouldn’t take relationship advice from me.
Electronics and gadgets
A new laptop and/or tablet is perhaps an obvious choice, but don’t make the mistake of buying a new gadget with the GST hike as an excuse. My iPad Pro is approaching its 5th birthday this year, so I can buy a new one soon and legitimately say I’m saving money before the GST increase.
Here is an interesting suggestion that my friend offered, and it is to prepay/renew your existing memberships, subscriptions, and/or packages. Most fitness gyms, massage parlours, beauty salons etc. would be pretty happy to take your money upfront, I think, and this may effectively help you dodge the additional GST. Do note that you take a risk here if the business were to fold, making your package worthless.
If you really have to buy a car, now is perhaps a better time than later. It’s possibly one of the most expensive things a person could buy that has GST, and an added 2% on say $70,000 is not a pretty sum to pay.
Up your cashback game
I know of people who grouse about the increase in GST, and yet miss out on all the rewards they could gotten by properly using cashback cards. Buying things using a pathetic 1.5% cashback card, or worse: paying cash? You are losing out on more than the GST increase would cost you. Get 8% cashback on your grocery spend, and get 6.67% cashback on other stuff.
Picking up a side hustle, and/or upgrading your skills
It’s me being a broken record again, but having side income is perhaps the most pragmatic way of dealing with an increased cost of living.
You could also consider learning new skills, and courses are yet another thing you could pay for now before they get pricier with a higher GST. You’d be better equipped to gun for pay raises, or get a better job with a higher salary.
One way of overcoming a problem is to become bigger than the problem, and a 2 percentage point increase in GST can be negated if you increased your income correspondingly.
Shop at smaller businesses
While small businesses are not immune to price increases due to the GST hike, they at least are not required by law to charge GST, unlike bigger businesses with at least $1 million turnover a year.
Some parting thoughts
I personally don’t think that the increase in GST would significantly affect my quality of life by much, and I trust that GST vouchers would ensure that lower income households and individuals are taken care of, though I do wonder whether this is the only option to raise revenues for our nation’s expenditure. We have a near total lack of wealth taxes, which seem pretty glaring as some of the richest individuals in our country grew even richer over the pandemic. But I suppose inequity is something for brighter minds to solve.
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